Culture Jam: Pond’s White Beauty Facewash

Original Ad

The advert which will be used for the purpose of my culture jam is a Ponds advert from 2012 which promotes a “white beauty facewash”, intended to lighten the skin of those who choose to use it. The ad literally says that dark skin is out, while white skin is what people should aim to have in order to “increase [their] face value”. Issues regarding skin whitening products are highly prevalent in today’s society, especially in Asia which is where this advert was originally posted. The intended consumers for this product are most likely women, as shown by the stereotypically feminine colors used in the ad, being primarily pink and white, with a ‘fair’ appearing woman shown to draw attention viewers. One of the ideas posed in the advert in particular of lighter skin increasing one’s face value can also be considered both disrespectful and misogynistic to women as a whole, as it implies that the value of a woman in society is directly linked to her appearance and her skin color rather than aspects of personality and other non-physical attributes which are less superficial. Furthermore, the idea ingrained in many nations that women should be fair is in itself an issue that relates to intersectional feminism. This is because it targets the insecurities of women of color specifically, pushing ideas that women of color have less ‘face value’ unless they follow the Eurocentric beauty standards which can often be pushed in the western world. I plan to use my culture jam in order to challenge the two main ideas portrayed in the ad- the ideas that a women’s value is dependent on her physical attributes as well as the idea in general that women should feel the need to lighten their skin in order to be beautiful.


Jammed Ad

The jammed version of the ad replaces the words “white beauty facewash” instead with “close-minded beauty facewash” and states that “all colors of skin are in” and “a women’s value is not dependant on her skin tone”. These alterations intend to reveal the true close-minded ideas portrayed in the original ad, which aims to make women feel like they are not beautiful if they are darker-skinned since “dark is out” and the use of “white beauty” again pushes the idea that one must be white in order to be considered beautiful. Also, the idea that “a woman’s value is not dependent on her skin tone” is meant to directly challenge the statement in the original ad which stated being fair increases one’s “face value”. Alterations reveal that the ad originally tried to push whitening products by making women feel like having whiter skin will increase their value, and thus challenges this idea by raising the idea that skin tone does not actually define the worth and value of a person in society. Ideally, those who view the jammed ad are inspired to consider Eurocentric beauty standards and the ways in which they are pushed onto darker-skinned people in today’s society. Considering the idea that “white beauty” transforms into “close-minded beauty” suggests that considering only those who have light skin of value is a matter of close-mindedness rather than a preference which should be considered acceptable in modern society as the advert originally implies. Also, it forces viewers to question what attributes make them consider a woman to be of “value”. By displaying the idea that skin-tone being a measure of one’s value is unacceptable and unusual, viewers are forced to reconsider their prior ideologies- and the jammed ad implies a woman’s value is placed on who she is rather than what she looks like.


Works Cited: 

Harper, Hollie. “Pond’s White Beauty Facewash.” Medium, 24 May 2018,

Culture Jam: Covergirl testing on animals

Original Ad

The ad that I have chosen to culture-jam shows an image of Ellen DeGeneres holding a racoon in which a cosmetic product called a CC-cream is being advertised in a magazine advert from 2013. This is an advertisement for the brand Covergirl, which is a brand that tested the quality of their cosmetic products on animals during the release of the advert in 2013, a practice often accompanied with abuse and neglect towards the animals being tested on.

Ironically, the ad refers to the raccoon as a “dark circle expert” who hence approves of the product, despite the fact that Covergirl in reality tested on animals. Therefore, the issue in this advert lies in the ironic use of animals to push cosmetic products despite the fact that the product’s manufacturing harms animals in itself.

The raccoon in the original ad plays a primary role to contrast with the models face in order to promote the cc-cream, where the raccoon illustrates dark circles while Ellen has no prominent dark circles on her face. However, one can argue that a secondary purpose of the raccoon is to provide an element of adorability. The raccoon helps draw people to the advert, as many cute smiling animals do, in order to gauge the attention of those flipping through the magazine. In order to successfully use this advert in culture jamming, it is important to keep these key elements of the ad in mind. What draws the eye to the image is the cute animal, and therefore to directly contradict the advert and outline that Covergirl in fact did test on animals at the time, one should focus on keeping the animal in the image and addressing the issue of animal testing directly through alterations made to the original ad itself.


Jammed Ad

The jammed advert intends to instead draw the viewers eye to the raccoon, and therefore highlight the issue regarding Covergirl’s animal testing. The main alteration involves covering the raccoon with cosmetic products and a band-aid, suggesting animals are harmed in the making of Covergirl cosmetic products – although raccoons may not be specifically tested on. Also, while in the original ad the cc-cream is in color while the raccoon is in black and white, in the jammed version the cc-cream is in black and white while the raccoon is in color. This stylistic decision leads to those who view the ad being drawn to the issues regarding the raccoon and hence the animal testing rather than drawing the eye to the cc-cream as initially intended by Covergirl.

The alterations reveal that although Covergirl may try to come across as “animal-friendly” by including content looking animals in their adverts, they were in fact testing on animals at the time the ad was released, and therefore the focus of the ad is shifted to reveal the ethical issues regarding animal testing. The jammed ad intends to invoke feelings of disapprobation towards the company, since drawing light on the raccoon leads to one becoming aware of animal abuse issues of the brand and how animal testing can be cruel and abusive.

Also, the idea of jamming an ad which originally contained an animal may bring an aspect of perspective, encouraging people to think critically of the adverts that they typically see. Simply because the original ad contained a happy looking animal flagged as a supporter of a product has no real meaning regarding Covergirl’s stance on ethical animal treatment, as the jammed ad shows the reality behind how Covergirl truly respected animals at the time.


Works Cited

COVERGIRL. Cosmopolitan, 2013, p. 4

Jones, Charisse. “It’s Official: CoverGirl Cosmetics Are Cruelty Free, Meaning There’s No Animal Testing.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 5 Nov. 2018,

Kim. “What CoverGirl Does to Animals Will Break Your Heart.” peta2, 13 Jan. 2017,